29
Apr 04

Fanny Dangle Watch

TMFDPost a comment • 704 views

Fanny Dangle Watch: Panna Ko is currently running at the Nike Town store in central London. CAUTION: link contains large amounts of flash and larger amounts of vicarious ‘streetwise’ copy. By all accounts the game is great to watch and fun to play – a one-on-one street football duel. The winner – not a novel concept this – is the player who scores the most goals. There is a way the game can be won outright, though, by a player nutmegging his opponent.

I’ve been racking my very limited sporting brain to come up with absolute victory conditions in team sports. Football of course may have started out with one – if your enormous team got the ball to the other end of the village it was game over. But in the modern, rules-based era absolute victory has generally been written out of the game. One-on-one games need it, though (are there any one-on-one games that can end in a draw? Ten-pin bowling and bar billiards are the only ones that springs to mind). Panna Ko being a combo of football and 1-on-1 its dual set of rules seems rather odd – you can score lots of goals, but it’s all over if the opponent nutmegs you. It seems unbalanced. In bar billiards you have the risk of losing all your points but even then you can (in theory) claw back.

I blame JK Rowling (a tiny bit anyway). When she sat down to invent a team game her great innovation was to include a move which carries such a huge points bonus that it essentially acts as a victory condition. From a literary point of view it works – it gives Harry P something to do – but it seemed unsettlingly unbalacing when I first read about Quidditch and it still seems so now. Why does either team bother scoring goals? Why don’t they just spend all their time distracting the geezer who has to find the little flying ball?

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